We absolutely cherish family traditions in our family. And when I say we, that’s probably mostly me in my immediate Elias family. I’m not sure that I fully appreciated them growing up, but as a mother of young children that’s a whole different story. I often reflect on the traditions of my immediate family growing up and the traditions my mother worked hard to establish and recreate each year. These traditions are near and dear to my heart. They were constant, reliable, heart-warming, and simply created a magical childhood. I’ve borrowed a few of these traditions for my family and tried to create a few new ones. Family Traditions can mean different things for all of us. For me, it reminds me of how blessed I was growing up to have such a loving supported family and always made me feel SO special.
· Birthday Breakfast-This one isn’t a Christmas tradition but it’s probably one of my favorites so I have to share. Growing up my parents would create an extra special birthday breakfast to start off our special day. This involved china, crystal, silver, linens, pancakes, orange juice, sausage. It was such a lovely way to start off the birthday celebrations. I’ve borrowed this tradition but serve a pancake birthday cake for breakfast instead. A little bit of a twist on the tradition. The kids don’t fully appreciate this tradition but are just thrilled they get cake for breakfast.
· Advent Calendar-We had an advent calendar every year that was filled with chocolates. Such a treat! My mother helped us start this tradition with my family and my brothers by gifting us a beautiful wooden advent calendar. I started with candy for the kids but the last few years they have a treat of a Christmas activity (some big and some small) each day. The kids love it!
· Christmas Eve Service-We grew up going to the midnight mass service at our church. While our kids aren’t old enough yet to make it to the midnight mass service, but we continue on with this tradition with a Christmas eve service in the late afternoon. This is definitely my favorite service to attend all year. It’s magical!
· Extra Special Threads-My mother will tell you that she saved everything from our childhood. She says it’s because my grandmother didn’t save anything at all. Either way, I’m SO thankful that she went to the trouble to save our special pieces of clothing because I’ve been able to enjoy them a second round with my children. I’ve been enjoying these treasured heirlooms since my children were born. Of course, they wear these pieces less and less frequent as they get older with opinions but I still have a few outfits to share with them. Also it’s helpful that Isabella and Jonathan are the same difference in age of my brother and I. This year for Christmas they are wearing a matching outfit of ours (my brother and I) and it just warms my heart so very much. I can only imagine how my mother feels; I’m assuming it’s like seeing your babies all over again but yet it’s your sweet grandchildren. I’m not going to lie, it’s a battle to get them in the outfits…lots of bribing and negotiating takes place but they are good sports once they are in it.
· Trail of Lights-As Austinites, it was natural that this became one of our traditions. It’s truly magical and one of my favorite experiences with the kids.
· The Nutcracker-Isabella and I have had a date to the Nutcracker every year since she was 2 and it’s such a special treat. I started because I wanted to introduce dance to her at a young age. It’s also a bit nostalgic for me as I was in the nutcracker growing up and have such fond memories of those experiences. This year all 4 of us will be attending the nutcracker at the Long Center. We shall see how little Johnny boy does for this show.
· Neighborhood Lights after Christmas Eve Service-This is something that organically happened. A few years ago we started driving around a few neighborhoods on our way home after church to see how everyone has decorated with lights. It’s so simple but fun for the family to soak up the Christmas cheer a bit more before we head home to get ready for santa.
· Matching Christmas PJs-Again, a very simple tradition but for me it’s a symbol of unity and family. My mother gets matching pjs for the cousins and then I also get matching pjs for my kids. It’s so fun to see them all cozied up in their matching pjs the morning of Christmas.
· A Christmas Affair-My kids have been attending Breakfast with Santa at A Christmas Affair for years. This has been another special tradition that they have experienced with their cousins and dear friends. Such a sweet tradition!
· Christmas Tea Party-My mother host a Christmas tea party for the cousins. They get to experience a beautiful set table with linens, china, silver, and place cards. Of course tea is served with tea sandwiches and beautiful sweet treats. While I would like to think they appreciate all the darling little details, the most important thing is that they feel special and get to experience another wonderful Christmas tradition.
Merry Christmas my friends!